US health officials to loosen guidelines for prescribing opioid-addiction treatment

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WASHINGTON (NEWS10) — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will release new guidelines allowing physicians to more easily prescribe buprenorphine, a proven effective opioid addiction treatment, to patients.

Co-sponsored by Rep. Paul Tonko, a New Yrok Democrat, and Rep, Elise Stefanik, a New York Republican, the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment Act eliminates a requirement that practitioners apply for a separate waiver through the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency to prescribe buprenorphine for substance use disorder treatment.

“Each year, we lose tens of thousands of friends and loved ones to the devastating disease of addiction,” Tonko said. “With the COVID-19 pandemic threatening to erase our nation’s progress in combatting the opioid crisis, taking action to expand access to these safe, proven treatments could not be more urgent. We have it in our power to make sure that every American working to overcome this disease can find or follow the path of recovery.”

Tonko says that nullifying this waiver requirement and making it easier for physicians to prescribe buprenorphine, even to a limited number of patients, will save countless lives.

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